Ammonium lauryl sulfate
Other names for ammonium lauryl sulfate (ALS) you may find on your product labels are ammonium dodecyl sulfate, dodecyl ammonium sulfate, dodecyl sulfate ammonium salt, sinopon, and akyposal ALS 33. It’s prepared by sulfating lauryl (fatty) alcohol with sulfur trioxide and neutralizing with an ammonium compound.
ALS is a detergent and high-foaming anionic surfactant or wetting agent that reduces the surface tension of water allowing the latter to easily spread. It’s commonly used in the formulation of antiperspirants, toothpastes, shampoos, liquid hand soaps, body washes, acne treatments, facial cleansers, anti-aging products and other inexpensive personal care items. It’s also used in many low pH formulations.
Prolonged exposure to ALS can result in serious skin, nose, eye, and respiratory tract irritation. Like ALES and other sulfates, ALS strips the protective, natural oils from your hair and skin making them dry. Again, like other sulfates, it can damage your hair follicles and culminate in hair loss. Products containing ALS have to be used intermittently and left on the skin for very short periods. They should be rinsed off completely after each use. Softening and gentler co-surfactants are often added to ALS-containing products to mitigate their harshness.
ALS is biodegradable, however it does have some long-lasting, deleterious effects on aquatic ecosystems.